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Sinigang is a popular Filipino soup or stew which is often characterized by its sour flavor. This dish is prepared by simmering the vegetables or meat in a sour broth, where the sour flavor is brought by the addition of the tamarind. Some Sinigang recipe variations may suggest substituting calamansi, bimbli, raw mango and guava in place of the tamarind. Sometimes powdered soup base or bouillion cubes are used in the preparation of the soup. But in spite of using all other sour factors, vinegar is never used for souring the dish. The meat is often used in the preparation of the dish. At most of the traditional Filipino restaurants the sinigang is listed as the soup, but it is traditionally treated as the main meal. This soup is considered to be ideal for the humid climate. Different Sinigang recipes are observed throughout Philippines, but in general the dish has Sinigang soup base and the protein portion is substituted by using pork, beef, chicken, fish, etc.

Sinigang is often confused with the Malaysian dish called singgang, a Malaysian sour soup from the region of Terengganu, Malaysia. This sour soup resembles Thailand’s tom yum, Canh Chua from Vietnam and Indonesia’s sayur asam. The Filipino sour soup is mostly teamed with a bowl of piping hot rice.

Origin of Sinigang
The dish is believed to have indigenous origins and is considered as the National Dish of Philippines.

Sinigang Recipe- Suggested Ingredients and Method of Preparation

Ingredients like pork, fish or shrimp, garlic, onion, Sinigang tamarind soup mix, water, bok choy, mustard greens, daikon radish, tomato, potato, and salt are combined in large soup pan while preparing the dish. Meat used in the preparation of the dish is mostly stewed with tomatoes, onions and tamarinds. The Filipinos love to add green finger pepper to the dish to enhance its spicy flavor.

Following the traditional chicken sinigang recipe, also known as sinampalukang manok or sinampalukan, the shredded tamarind leaves are used as the souring agent. Also, vegetables like onion, tomato, ginger are used in the preparation. The chicken sinigang tilts an inch spicier than the other variations. In Malaysia, the pork is replaced with fish.

Sinigang Recipe- Variations

  • Sinigang na Isda sa Miso: This dish is flavored by using Miso (traditional Japanese seasoning). The tamarind, miso, mustasa and labanos deliver authenticity to the dish.
  • Sinigang sa Sampalok: This recipe suggests using tamarind as the souring agent.
  • Sinigang na Bangus: Following the milkfish based recipe, packaged tamarind powder is used as the sour base.
  • Sinigang na Baboy: Tamarind or sampolac is used in the preparation of the dish.
  • Sinigang na Tilapia: This Tilapia based dish makes use of tamarind, tomatoes, or tamarind powder as the sour base.